Sun-Herald Chess Column for June 25

"After I won the Mercantile Mutual tournament in Sydney in 1991, it took
nine years before they invited me back to Australia. After this result, I
have been advised that I might have to wait again."
So joked Slovakian Grandmaster Lubomir Ftacnik in his wry acceptance speech
after winning the Parkroyal International on the Gold Coast last week.
Ftacnik had reason to fear that he might be becoming unpopular with the
locals - after a slow start he had finished the Parkroyal event by
demolishing Australia's three best players in the final three rounds.
Ftacnik's run began when Johansen pushed too hard in the seventh round,
only to fsee his winning tries rebound, giving Ftacnik a winning queen
endgame. Then Ftacnik fell over the line in an error-strewn game against
Rogers where the latter could have forced a draw only a couple of moves
from the finish.
Going into the final round, many expected Ftacnik to play a short draw
against Alex Wohl, thus guaranteeing himself first prize outright. However
Ftacnik decided that he still had something to prove and proded the game
given below. "It was impossible to predict that I would play so well,"
admitted the 42-year-old GM.
The Parkroyal result will push Ftacnik back into the world's top 100 with
the big Australian winner from the tournament being John-Paul Wallace, now
well back into Olympic contention.

Parkroyal International 2000
White: L.Ftacnik
Black: A.Wohl
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.g3 Nc6 5.Bg2 Qb6!? 6.0-0 Be7 7.b3 0-0 8.Bb2 d5
9.cxd5 exd5 10.d4 cxd4 11.Na4 Qa6 12.Nxd4 Bg4!

Despite the odd positioning of Black's queen, Black has managed to generate
active play to compensate for his isolated pawn, and against quiet play
would have no problems. Ftacnik now descended into deep thought and came up
with an inspired idea.


Provoking the following pawn grab.

13...Nxd4?! 14.Qxd4 Bxe2 15.Rfe1 Rfe8?!

Ftacnik later showed that Black could hold with the unlikely defence
15...Rae8! 16.Nc3 Bd6!, planning to meet 17.Rxe2 Rxe2 18.Bf1with 18...Be5!.

16.Nc3! Bf8?

The last chance lay in 16...Bd6, as in the previous note. During the game
Ftacnik thought that 16...Bh5 17.Nxd5 Bd8 migh thang on but 18.g4!-g5, as
suggested by Sun-Herlad reader Steve Kerr, wins for White. The text move is
even worse, Black losing material and the game.

17.Rxe2! Rxe2 18.Bf1 Rxb2 19.Bxa6 bxa6 20.Nxd5 Rc2 21.Nxf6+ gxf6 22.Qd3
Rac8 23.Qxa6 R8c3 24.Qxf6 Bc5 25.Kh1! Rc1+ 26.Rxc1 Rxc1+ 27.Kg2 Rc2 28.Qg5+
Kf8 29.Qf5 1-0